How to Build Healthier Cities

This is Part 3 of 3 in a series based on the work of the students I teach at a college.

One of the things I ask my students to do is imagine cost-effective ways to make our cities healthier. They bring with them community experience, human services principles, and strong ideas of where we need to make changes. Here are some of the best ideas from the fall class:

  1. Take the fines for confiscating cell phones in schools (approx. $15 a piece) and use these funds to distribute a healthy after-school snack to students on meal plans. Statistics have shown that the food and meals at school are sometimes the only food children have for that day. This would help make sure that they have something to eat after school or even for dinner.
  2. Request that the city grant $1,830 for a community center to add a community garden for families and seniors to append time together and be active.
  3. Working with a church or community center, ask for families to adopt an elderly. The families would then work to plan and provide healthy (American Heart Association approved) menus for the seniors and hopefully themselves. The children could receive health education credits and the elderly would get better nutrition. This would improve community bonding and increase wellness.
  4. Add outdoor ropes courses, secured stretching ropes, exercise bikes, and a set of tires to community parks, especially those that already have a walking or jogging path. This would help increase fitness opportunities for the community- adding strength training for walkers, allowing parents near playgrounds to exercise, etc.

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